OFA President Advocates for Agriculture in Ottawa

OFA President Advocates for Agriculture in Ottawa
Feb 14, 2024

By Farms.com

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) made its presence felt in Ottawa this week, with President Drew Spoelstra leading the charge to bring the voice of Ontario's farms to the forefront of national discussions.  The visit was marked by significant interactions with political leaders and participation in pivotal events that underscored the importance of agriculture in Canada.

The highlight of the trip was attending the swearing-in ceremony of Senator Mary Robinson, a notable advocate for agriculture, reflecting the sector's growing representation at the highest levels of government.  Robinson's experience across various agricultural roles positions her as a key ally for farming interests in Canada.

Spoelstra's agenda in Ottawa was packed with strategic meetings aimed at addressing pressing concerns for the agricultural community. Conversations with MP Dave Epp focused on the grocery code of conduct, Bill C-234, and invasive species, highlighting the unique challenges facing Southern Ontario's vibrant agricultural landscape.

Further discussions with influential figures, including MP Kody Blois, Minister Lawrence MacAulay, and MP James Maloney, delved into legislative matters such as Bill C-234 and the Advance Payments Program.

These dialogues emphasized the critical need for supportive policies, like maintaining the interest-free limit for farm loans and recognizing the vital role of the Ontario Food Terminal in the nation's food supply chain.

An overlap with the Dairy Farmers of Canada reception allowed for meaningful exchanges on dairy sector priorities, including leadership development and the urgent need for expanded processing capacity.  These interactions underscore the OFA's commitment to fostering growth and sustainability in Canadian agriculture.

Before concluding the visit, Spoelstra engaged with Senator Rob Black regarding the Senate's Soil Health study, anticipating its implications for future agricultural practices.

This visit to Ottawa by the OFA leadership was a strategic effort to ensure that the voices of Ontario's farmers are heard and considered in national agricultural policy decisions, reinforcing the sector's significance to Canada's economy and food security.

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